Lots of people teach how to market a law firm and what tools to use, but rarely do you see advice on how attorneys should allocate their two most precious resources: time and money.
In other words: if you have a dollar to spend and an hour to use, where do you start?
Here are some tips:
1. Get control of (or start) your client database. I'm shocked at how many lawyers don't have a marketing database. Marketing to people who know you, like you and find you interesting is far more effective than marketing to the 'masses.' Thus, you need a data base of folks who have said to you "Market to me." Every time someone visits your website or calls your office their name goes into your database to be marketed over and over again.
2. Make yourself the "guru"--become an author. There is no better way to establish your self as the wise man/woman at the top of the mountain than to become an author. I've written The Utlimate Guide to Virginia Auto Accidents and The Truth About Lawyer Advertising. Its not that hard.
3. There are two types of media, "inbound" and "outbound." "Inbound" media is the media consumers are using when they are hunting for you. Today, its the Internet and (still) the Yellow Pages. Perfect these media for your law practice before spending tons of money on "outbound" media. "Outbound media" is TV, radio, print and anything else where you are just sending out a message and hoping it hits someone who might just need what your business offers today. Outbound media is "sexy" (you get to see yourself on TV. Inbound media is the most cost-effective way to market yourself. Don't skip over it.
4. Work on making an irresistible offer. What would almost force the consumer to contact your first? Clue: it ain't "Free Consultation." It should be unique. For many, that irresistible offer can be an offer of information that will help the potential client solve their problem. We are in a 'research' world.
5. Develop your "Shock and Awe" package.When the client raises their hand and says "I'm interested in what you have to say about my problem," have a multi-media package ready to send to them. Reports, books, CD's and video's. I can almost guarantee that no one else in your market it doing this. More work, certainly, but tremendously effective.
6. Master the Internet (or at least know how to talk to your webmaster). It doesn't' matter how pretty your web site is if it isn't on the first page of Google. As the business owner you need to understand search engine optimization or hire someone who is an expert. The great thing about this is that its easy to test. If you are a personal injury attorney in Houston and typing personal injury attorney in Houston" doesn't put you on the first page of Google, then you have work to do. The company that puts me on the first page of Google is Foster Web Marketing.
7. Develop your newsletter system. There is no better way to stay in constant contact with your database than through an interesting print newsletter mailed (not emailed) monthly. Don't use a canned newsletter. Don't slap you name on some boring waste fof paper. Become a personality. Be interesting.
8. Associate with folks who do this better than you do. Most business owners put "learning about marketing" too far down their list of things to do. As Michael Gerber says in the E-Myth, we are too busy working "in" the business to work "on" the business. You have to reverse that and find the time to work "on" your business. A great way to do this is to find or start a mastermind group of like-minded entrepreneurial business owners who will commit to getting together frequently to help each other think about their businesses and, importantly, their marketing. This is not a business "cross-referral" group. This is a thinking group.
Far to many attorneys are willing to throw their marketing resources of time and money at the glitzy TV ads without really thinking about the effective ways to build and nurture a relationship with customers and patients through a system of attracting their attention with interesting advertising and irresistible offers and then maintaining that contact through frequent newsletter "touches."